To The College Students Who Hate Their Hometown

To The College Students Who Hate Their Hometown

Living somewhere you feel like you don’t belong is one of the worst feelings.

To every college student who is dreading returning to their hometown for the summer, I’m sorry. I’m sorry the place you grew up isn’t one of happy memories. I’m sorry the place that is supposed to be your home isn’t comforting to you. I’m sorry the feeling you experience when returning home isn’t one of joy.

I thought I would be ecstatic to come home for the summer and finally be away from all the stress that accompanies college. But I experienced quite the opposite. I felt like crying the day I had to come back to my small hometown, and I have been counting down the days until I leave ever since. I’m not sorry I don’t love my hometown. Why should I be, when growing up I’ve never felt like I belonged here?

I want to make one thing clear before I continue: even though I wasn’t happy to be back home I was still extremely happy to see my family. If anything, they’re one of the only good things about being back home.

Living in a small town is great for most younger kids growing up, being around familiar faces all the time and keeping the same friends for years. But what about the kids who could never find their “group?” For those kids, it’s hell. You feel like you don’t fit in with any of the established friend groups; and if you don’t, you’re out of luck since there aren’t a lot to choose from.

I never found my “group.” As a kid, it bothered me a bit but I don’t think I fully grasped that I just didn’t fit in. As I got older it got worse. During middle school, I began to become aware of it, and in high school, it became painfully more obvious. Even if I was apart of a “group” I never felt like I belonged. Do you know how lonely of a feeling that is? You feel like you have absolutely no one you can talk to. Your “friends” expect you to be there for them but when you need help they’re nowhere to be seen. I talk to less than five people I went to high school with now, and all my other “friends” I had in high school I haven’t talked to since. Coming home for the summer is just a painful reminder that I don’t belong in my hometown. I don’t fit in here, and I never will.

My one piece of advice to all the other students who hate their hometown: get out. Choosing a college that barely anyone from my high school went to was probably the best decision I have ever made. Going from a school with less than 1,000 people in it where everyone knows everyone to a school where there are over 50,000 people and most people don’t know each other was like a breath of fresh air. There are so many different groups of people that it’s almost impossible you feel like you won’t fit in. I finally feel like I belong somewhere.

The day I am finally able to move out of my hometown for good can’t come soon enough. But until then I’m counting down the days until I can return to college, for that is the place that actually feels like home.

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To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

I am pretty sure we all know who I'm talking about.


As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.

We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.

1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college

This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.

2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major

"You are not going to school just to waste my money."

This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.

3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom

Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.

4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship

I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.

Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.

5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own

It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.

6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends

I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.

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Dan, The Renovation Man

How my dad turned a friend's death into a stunning new home


I remember the exact day when I found out he had cancer. I was home on fall break, in the car with my mom when her phone rang.

It was my dad.

I watched as her face fell and she started spouting off medical questions and words of comfort.

Hanging up, she turned to me and told me that our close family friend, Fr. Thom had brain cancer. It was aggressive and made the outcome of death not really an if, but a when.

Fr. Thom had been my dad's childhood priest and Catholic school principal growing up. In the little town of Huntington, IN, he was well-known for being a kind man, giving up everything for someone else without hesitation.

Like the time he let my seventeen- year-old Uncle Steve drive his brand new Berlinetta Camaro.

After my dad left the boonies aka Huntington, they lost touch.

This all changed my seventh grade year when Fr. Thom had some legal allegations thrust upon him. He called my dad, a lawyer, who immediately took up the case.

And that is what brought him into my family's life.

After the (false) allegations, his close-knit community of friends began to thin.

He lost his parish, the majority of his diocesan paycheck, and unfortunately some of his spirit. No charges were ever filed, but the truth was that it didn't even matter. The damage was done.

My family took him under our wing, inviting him to family dinners, birthday parties, and cookouts.

Those closest to him knew him to be an avid cook, a lover of cocker spaniels, and an intense researcher.

Flash forward to this year.

He was diagnosed with cancer in October and my father accompanied him to every doctor's visit.

As though the attorney, father of four, does not have enough on his plate..

With a multitude of other health issues, he started being admitted, released, and readmitted to the hospital.

I went with my mom and dad to see him Christmas Night. He was asleep from all the drugs in his system, but he still looked the same.

Even with a bald head.

Even lying in a hospital bed.

He was still the man with the toothy grin who brought his three cocker spaniels over for dinner from time to time.

He was still the cook who would, without hesitation, tell my mom her lasagna was not truly Italian cuisine.

He was still the priest who told me that there were some theological historians who believed dogs went to heaven.


He died a few days after Christmas.

My dad was with him.

For some reason after his death I thought it would all stop. My dad could take a breath and remember his friend.

Wow--if I knew how wrong I was.

First, we had to plan the viewing and the funeral.

My brother, my mom, and my dad, and I walked his casket down the aisle and sat in the front row where the family would sit.

Next, was the estate. My dad was the executor and handled it all. Thankfully our neighbor Linda helped out. She was a god-send.

All of the estate's earning would be donated to Fr. Thom's choice of charities.

Finally, came the house.

When first walking in to Fr. Thom's mid-century modern home, one might think "Oh, I don't think there's too much work that needs to be done."

Well that person is foolish and ignorant of how real estate works.

Everything had to be cleaned, updated, cleaned again, painted, and probably cleaned again.

The list of things that I did included: cleaning a bathroom walls and ceiling, scouring a shower that had never seen a scrub brush, stripping wallpaper, planting flowers, lining cabinets with liner, and cleaning out the garage.

I probably did the least of my family. Compared to my dad, I did nothing.

He took this project on with the strength of an army.

He only hired people for things that he would be ridiculous to even attempt, i.e. installing countertop.

He picked out paint colors, flooring, appliances, lighting all while working full-time.

To say that this project has been stressful, is an understatement of the century. My mom and our neighbor Linda have been invaluable assets to him, but a man can only take so much. This whole summer it has been the house 24/7 as it constantly weighs on him.

The thing is that he didn't have to do this. Fr. Thom didn't ask him to redo his house. He didn't ask that all the appliances be stainless steel. He wouldn't of cared if the landscaping added curb appeal!

But, my dad did it because he felt obligated too.

It was almost like an unspoken promise to an old friend.

On August 7, the house was officially listed to sell.

Our neighbor Linda did an impeccable job on the write up of the house describing,

"This mid-century modern ranch overlooks scenic Indian Village Boulevard from floor-to-ceiling windows beneath beamed Arts & Crafts cathedral ceilings. The open-concept living and dining space has a centerpiece three-side stone fireplace in distinctive sandstone tones. This post-war, baby-boom 1950s ranch offers mid-mod utility, richly stained wood architecture, built-in bookcases and an updated gourmet kitchen with gleaming black granite countertops."

Hower, I am mostly partial to how much the shower gleams in the moonlight.

My dad put his heart and soul into this house and it looks sensational.

So, if you're looking for a new home or just weirdly obsessed with looking at houses like me, check out the link below!,-85.156467,41.037655,-85.187367_rect/14_zm/

Good job, Daddy-O.

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